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Saturday
Feb192011

Hope for a Hurting World

We must never forget that the gospel brings more long-term social good than any governmental program ever developed.

J. Mack Stiles in Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel

Friday
Feb182011

Old Testament Gospel

The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt, 1854. Hunt had this framed with the quotations “Surely he hath borne our Griefs and carried our Sorrows; Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of GOD and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4) and “And the Goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a Land not inhabited.” (Leviticus 16:2)

Old Testament Gospel

(Hebrews 4:2)

Israel in ancient days
Not only had a view
Of Sinai in a blaze,
But learn’d the Gospel too;
The types and figures were a glass,
In which they saw a Saviour’s face.

The paschal sacrifice
And blood-besprinkled door,
Seen with enlighten’d eyes,
And once applied with power,
Would teach the need of other blood,
To reconcile an angry God.

The Lamb, the Dove, set forth
His perfect innocence,
Whose blood of matchless worth
Should be the soul’s defence;
For he who can for sin atone,
Must have no failings of His own.

The scape-goat on his head
The people’s trespass bore,
And to the desert led,
Was to be seen no more:
In him our surety seem’d to say,
“Behold, I bear your sins away.”

Dipt in his fellow’s blood,
The living bird went free;
The type, well understood,
Express’d the sinner’s plea;
Described a guilty soul enlarged,
And by a Saviour’s death discharged.

Jesus, I love to trace,
Throughout the sacred page,
The footsteps of Thy grace,
The same in every age!
Oh, grant that I may faithful be
To clearer light vouchsafed to me! 

William Cowper


More on William Cowper

Thursday
Feb172011

Not Equal to the Gospel

So, is caring for others “the gospel”? Is that evangelism? No, not without the spoken message of the gospel of Jesus. The gospel message is the message that produces salvation. So we should never confuse meeting physical needs with sharing the gospel. Caring for others represents the gospel, it upholds the gospel, it points to the gospel, it’s an implication of the gospel, but it is not the gospel, and it is not equal to the gospel.

Furthermore, all actions of kindness, compassion and justice must be done with the hope to share our faith, otherwise we are not upholding the gospel. We share the good news always open to doing good, and we do good always with the hope of sharing our faith. We never divorce the two.

If we get nothing in return, it’s okay because it is the nature of love. But do not forget that seeing people come to Christ in the midst of suffering and injustice is to do the greatest good we could ever do. To misunderstand this is to be blinded by cultural, materialistic worldviews rather than to believe in the power of the gospel.

From J. Mack Stiles in Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel.

Thursday
Feb172011

Round the Sphere Again: Two Quotes on Prayer

Built-In Double Intercession
Your prayer life is secure in the two hands of the Father.” Quoting The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything by Fred Sanders at Of First Importance.

Peace of God Protection
“We must present our petitions with thanksgiving” in order to prevent our prayer from becoming “nothing but a worry session.” Doug Wilson quotes his own book, Beyond Stateliest Marble (on Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet).

Thursday
Feb172011

Thankful Thursday

I’m thankful that February’s sun has a little heat to it, so that even though the temperature said -36C this morning, I can count on things warming up substantially during the daylight hours. I’m thankful for the almost four more hours of daylight since the shortest day of the year, and for the bright blue skies that let the sunshine show. I’m thankful for the constantly changing seasons that add variety to my life. Can I mention that I’m thankful for an efficient furnace, too?

I’m thankful for this year’s crop of grapefruit. The sweet grapefruit available in recent weeks are a good gift.

I’m thankful for my daughter and her car, which I’ll be using while she’s gone to Costa Rica to be in a wedding. Hooray for having a car 24/7 again.

I’m thankful that the sovereign God cares for me so that I can cast all my anxieties on him.

Throughout this year I’m planning to post a few thoughts of thanksgiving each Thursday along with Kim at the Upward Call and others.